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‘The White Lotus’ Star Leo Woodall on Jack and Portia’s Flirty Fling: ‘He’s the Polar Opposite to Albie’

Jack ”provides the things that Portia thinks that she wants or needs,“ Woodall told TheWrap

“The White Lotus” Season 2 Episode 4 formally introduces Jack, a British lad hailing from Essex who sparks a flirty and laid-back fling with Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) that can only be described as the “opposite” of her somewhat forced relationship with Albie (Adam DiMarco).

“Part of the point of Jack is that he’s the polar opposite to Albie,” Leo Woodall, who plays Jack, told TheWrap in a recent interview. “He, from the get go, provides the things that Portia thinks that she wants or needs at the at the beginning of the series.”

Though Portia and Jack first lay eyes on each during an uncomfortable kiss with Albie at the pool, the two are formally connected when Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) begins a friendship with Quentin (Tom Hollander), Jack’s uncle, who invites the women to spend time with him and his community of gay friends.

While Portia seems to want someone like nice guy, Stanford graduate Albie, she laments that he doesn’t get her heart rate up as much as she would like. Not so soon after sharing her lukewarm feelings with Tanya, her wishes to be whisked away in a romantic adventure are answered by Jack, who embraces being young and free on the Italian coast.

“At this point in time they’re having a lot of fun,” he said. “They’re just free birds … having a great time.”

Portia’s arrival also captivates Jack, who has grown tiresome of the company of his uncle and his uncle’s friends on his two-month long vacation — which he admits “is alright if you don’t mind a bunch of gays grabbing your ass and copping a feel.”

“For Jack, Portia is very sweet, very pretty [and the] same age as him,” Woodall said. “I think [at] this point, he just wants to go and have fun and not have to hang around with his uncle and his uncle’s friends, because you want to hang out with the people that you can find real common ground with.”

haley-lu-richardson-leo-woodall
HBO

Woodall also understands his character’s piece in the puzzle that makes up the many layers of this season’s plot, noting that his main goal was to enable creator Mike White’s overall vision to come together. “What’s great about Mike’s writing is that you need to read into it,” Woodall said.

For Woodall, this means “playing the bare basics,” adding that at a granular level Jack might be motivated by running to his next thing that will fill him with satisfaction and enjoyment.

As for the rest of the Sicilian vacation, Woodall hopes Jack soaks in the fun and budding romance with Portia and that “nothing kills his buzz.”

New episodes of “The White Lotus” Season 2 air on Sundays on HBO and stream on HBO Max.